05/29/11 Richard Lee

Richard Lee, President of Oaksterdam Marijuana University re forthcoming effort to legalize in Calif + Adam Assenberg, busted in Wash state for providing MJ to crooked narc + DTN Editorial "Face The Inquisition"

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Guest: 
Richard Lee
Organization: 
Oaksterdam University
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Transcript
Cultural Baggage / May 29, 2011

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Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”

“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”

DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.

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DEAN BECKER: Oh yes, this is, indeed, Cultural Baggage. My name is Dean Becker. Here in a little while we’re going to hear from Mr. Richard Lee, the Chancellor of Oaksterdam University, the owner of the Bulldog Coffee Shop and a couple other fine establishments out there in Oakland, California. We are going to be talking about the new effort to legalize marijuana. We are going to be talking about their new website, cannabispolicyreform.org.

Richard may be one of the bigger players there in California but one of the smaller players, if you will, is a long-time guest here on DrugTruth Network, a gentleman based up in Washington state who serves a few medical marijuana patients. We’ve been reporting on his situation over the last month or so. The raid by the cops, the threat against Adam and so forth. Let’s just go ahead and bring him and he can fill us in on the details.

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DEAN BECKER: Adam, are you with us?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Yes I am, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: Hey, Adam. You know we’ve been talking for years now. You currently don’t have your “Marijuana: Fact or Fiction” program on air?

ADAM ASSENBERG: No. I am filling in every once and a while whenever a DJ needs some time off but I’ve primarily went ahead and positioned my time to where I’m basically just working on helping patients now.

DEAN BECKER: Well, OK. Do you get a chance to share some of the DrugTruth Network stuff with them?

ADAM ASSENBERG: All the time. Everyone I talk to I always share your network and talk about what you do.

DEAN BECKER: That’s good to know. Now, Adam, let’s go back- well not to the beginning – let’s go back to the raid. How long ago was that?

ADAM ASSENBERG: That happened on the 4th of May.

DEAN BECKER: 4th of May, so, we’re still less than a month from that date and tell us what happened.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Well, what happened is I was on my way to my doctor’s office out in Moscow, Idaho - the same one who wrote my recommendation for the use of medical cannabis. And wanted to talk about an upcoming surgery I’m going to have on the 10th of next month and the police went ahead and pulled me over and slapped my hands behind my back and told me I’m being arrested for distributing cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: Now this was…uh…just the kind of the first step in this. They went to your house, they…You and your wife are both legitimate medical marijuana patients there in the state of Washington, right?

ADAM ASSENBERG: That is correct and it gets even crazier because once I was arrested they went ahead and took me down to the police department at the sheriff’s office and they never did fingerprint me or anything like that. They just went ahead and had me wear a real thin shirt, thin pair of pants and their orange overcoat that they have everyone wear. Put me in a holding cell that was really cold, total cement with a metal bench in it and I warned them that I am a medical patient that could go into seizures and, sure enough, while I was in the holding cell I went into over 10 epileptic grand mal seizures loosing total motor control, flopping around on the concrete, banging my head into the cement and no one ever tried to do anything to stop my head from hitting the cement.

DEAN BECKER: Look, Adam, let’s…uh…You’ve have spinal injury, you’ve had…uh…let’s be honest, quite a few medical complications that justify your use and, again, I’m not going to think about the lack of medical support when you were having those grand mal seizures…that’s just outrageous. I’ll sum it up that way but let’s go beyond that.

Now, the fact of the matter is, you, as a patient, are allowed to have how many plants, how many for your wife, how much dried marijuana are you allowed to have?

ADAM ASSENBERG: I am allowed 15 plants, my wife’s allowed 15 plants and we have the paperwork where we can each care for one more patient where we can grow 15 plants for each one of them as well. So, I’m allowed 60 plants here at my home.

DEAN BECKER: And, yet, when they came in, how many plants did they take, how many did they leave?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Well, in the newspaper it says that they took 82 plants but what a lot of people don’t understand is 46 plants out of those 82 should not even have been considered plants because they were in a cloning machine, less than a foot tall, most of them were less than 6 inches tall and they didn’t have roots so they couldn’t even be considered life-sustaining plants yet on their own.

DEAN BECKER: But how many did they leave behind?

ADAM ASSENBERG: They left behind a total of 15 in the adult stage for my wife taking all of my plants, taking all of our patients’ plants and they also stole my wife’s medicine – she wasn’t even listed on the warrant. They stole all of my medicine that I had. And, when everything was said and done, they took a grand total of less than 4 ounces of dried medicine out of the home and I’m allowed 24 ounces for a 60-day supply, my wife’s allowed 24…I mean we’re allowed over 4 pounds of medicine combined with us and our patients but, yet, I had less than 4 ounces.

DEAN BECKER: And what was their justification? Have they indicated why they did that?

ADAM ASSENBERG: They claim that I sold to an undercover informant but the thing is that each and every patient that came to me, so I made sure that nothing got on the black market, is I’d go ahead and have every person sign a HICFA release form so I could verify with a doctor’s office that they were a verified patient and then I’d get on the Washington State database and verify with the Health Department that they were a legitimate doctor in good standing with the Health Department. So I did two different safety checks to verify that I only worked with legitimate papers with the patients.

DEAN BECKER: Now this brings to mind then, if this informant can say that you sold it to him illegally, he circumvented the law, he made it to where you had no way to ascertain that he was an illegal actor doing an illegal action, right?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Well, Dean, it gets even more interesting because any emergency room that you go to in Washington state, it’s posted all over the walls, “If you try to get a controlled substance under forgery, of not really being qualified to have said substance, it’s a class C felony.” So, they’re having their informants to make class C felonies in order to raid medical cannabis stations and medical dispensaries that are truly trying to help the patients and going by the book.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I’ve got an editorial we’re going to do right after our discussion that delves right into the heart of that madness. Adam, you were in the paper I guess 2 days ago, front page of your local paper, they were talking about, let me see, it says that::

“…complicating that goal is the federal government’s implacable opposition to marijuana despite more liberal attitudes at the state and local level.”

And they’re talking about both the Whitman County Sheriff’s office and you, Mr. Adam Assenberg, want the same thing.

“Clearer laws that define patient’s access to prescribed marijuana.”

Respond to that.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Well, I think it is even more comical because in the same headline it clearly says, “Police Say Medical Cannabis Rules Confusing For Them and Users.” So, until they can go ahead from the legal standpoint and not be confusing anymore, they should really back off of the people who are trying to dispense this to the patients, until they can get their heads out of their backside and do what’s right by the community.

DEAN BECKER: Now, Adam, this is a situation where, as I recall, the search warrant for the raid they did on your locale had a checkmark there the state authorities didn’t want to get involved. This was a local, county Sheriff doing this, right?

ADAM ASSENBERG: That’s right. His name is Brett Myers. He’s the Sheriff of Whitman County and he’s also the head of the Quad-City Drug Task Force. He’s had it “in for me” for quite some time thanks to my daughter standing up in the DARE class and telling the officer what a liar he was for not supporting all state laws that are written on the books for medical cannabis patients.

DEAN BECKER: Well, that’s sometimes or all too often the case where it becomes a personal vendetta for that official.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Well, you know Dean, it gets crazy because I finally got the affidavit for the search warrant and it clearly states on the search warrant that this is the third time that I have been under investigation simply because I’m a medical cannabis patient. When does it become harassment?!

DEAN BECKER: Well, “All too often” is the only answer I have. Adam, now I want to go back to the thought that you were trying your best to follow the law. As you say, you’re making the calls, you’re verifying recommendations, you’re wanting to do this right and yet you were singled out. Not that you’re the only one, by God, because all across these United States there are agents from the federal government getting involved. But, you were following state law, you had no truck with the state authorities, this was a local vendetta, right?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Most certainly and, you know, even the commissioners are in on this because it is a county sheriff getting paid by state dollars that raided my home and put all of my family through a horrible distress on this. I mean they even went as far as not only stealing my business computer down in my office, thinking they’re going to get more incriminating evidence on me, but they also stole my wife’s computer that’s up in her area, my daughter’s laptop computer that she uses for school thinking they’re going to find some kind of drug activity on my daughter’s computer. They haven’t given that back yet and she’s still in school and needs that.

DEAN BECKER: And, again, how long can it take to, you know, download all the files.

ADAM ASSENBERG: Yeah, and Dean, for the first time publically my son, as long as I don’t use his name, has told me that I’m allowed to say that when this raid happened he was up in bed sleeping and when they came in he didn’t get his shoes on fast enough so the police drew a gun on him because he didn’t get his shoes on fast enough.

DEAN BECKER: This is all too typical. We’re going to be carrying a report a little bit later about an U.S. Iraq War Veteran, two tours of duty, gunned down, hail of bullets for the thought that he possessed weed. And, of course, there was no weed found. It’s just a jihad. It is just a “cowboy rodeo” to these officials. That somehow they can justify any and everything they do if they can mention the word “drugs”. You’re response, Adam Assenberg.

ADAM ASSENBERG: I’d like to say that a little over a week ago I wanted to bring this to the county commissioners and, if I may, I’d like to go ahead and share with you and your listeners the letter that the county commissioners gave me in response to my request to speak to them.

DEAN BECKER: Please do.

ADAM ASSENBERG:
“Mr. Assenberg,

The commissioners’ meetings are for the commissioners to conduct county business. It is not a forum for individuals to vent their frustrations. If you would like to have an individual commissioner talk to you, please call and make an appointment.

You are welcome to attend any of our open, public meetings, as anyone is, however, you will not be recognized to speak. Should you interrupt our business meeting we will ask our Sheriff to take the appropriate actions to allow us to continue.”

It is funny that the same sheriff that violated my protected rights under state law would be the same sheriff that would escort me out of the meeting when I want to talk to them about that sheriff violating state law.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Adam, it’s my understanding, even in Texas, that you can go speak to the county commissioners, you can go speak to the city council. They designate usually, I think, a three minute time slot where you can say whatever you want to say. And yet, in the state of Washington, that doesn’t apply? Why would they keep you barred from the meeting?

ADAM ASSENBERG: Well, simply because of the fact that I have an argument that’s never been used in court and it’s the perfect argument for this whole drug war. When congress dictated in 2002 as to what specifically had to be a schedule 1 narcotic, subsection B of the controlled substance act says that “the drug cannot have any accepted medical use in the United States.” Nowhere in that doctrine does it state that the FDA has to be the regulatory agency that recognizes its medical value.

We have the Veterans’ Administration, we have the National Cancer Institute (both federal agencies) that recognize its medical value. So clearly we have evidence that if it were to go in front of a jury that the federal government would clearly loose on that argument.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed they would. They fight that presentation, that discussion.

ADAM ASSENBERG: That’s why in our time when I’ve been on your show in the past I’ve been in civil suits all these different times. The last time I tried to use this argument the Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled that since I was poor and filed indigent paperwork that they could ignore that paperwork and not give me my day in court. So I opened up Compassion for Patients which is truly about trying to help people. And since they went ahead and turned this into a criminal action, now they are forced to go ahead and give me that day in court, in front of a jury.

In a criminal action it’s the most precise reading of the law that is dictated in a circumstance like that. So presenting what congress wrote into law, the jury would have to accept that.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Adam, I tell you what, we’re going to have to leave it there for now. We’ll be in touch, we’ll be following your case as it unfolds. Do you want to share a website with the listeners before we go?

ADAM ASSENBERG: I’d actually like to share a couple phone numbers, if I may.

DEAN BECKER: Please go.

ADAM ASSENBERG: OK, if you want to reach me and ask me anything about it, it’s (888) 812-0553, my toll free number. And, if you would like to complain to the county commissioner about what they did to me, his name is Greg Partch and you can reach him at his direct number of (509) 397-5247. Dean, I thank you very much for having me on your show.

DEAN BECKER: Well you say hi to Carla and your children and, as I say, we’ll be in touch here soon.

ADAM ASSENBERG: God bless you.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you, sir.

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(Game show music)
DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.
Loss of personal freedom, family and possessions, ineligible for government funding, education and licensing, housing or employment, loss of aggressive mindset in a dangerous world. This drug’s peaceful, easy feeling may be habit forming.
(gong)
Time’s up!
The answer: doobie, jimmie, joint, reefer, spliff, jibber, jay, blunt, steege, greener, cracker, hogger, bone, carrot, mary jane, marijuana, cannabis sativa.
Made by God….Prohibited by man.
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DEAN BECKER: Tomás de Torquemada was known as "The hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the saviour of his country." Barbaric, he may have been, but he destroyed less than 2,000 lives during his 15 years as the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. Today’s compassionate drug war addicts have fractured the futures and pulverized the possibilities of more than 40 million U.S. citizens for the crime of possessing plant products. And are responsible for tens of thousands of lives lost each year to the folly of their policy yet Drug Czars are continuously lauded with platitudes and praise by their fawning minions. Far more than was ever heaped on the head of Torquemada.

The drug war is the first war ever declared for eternity. For nearly one hundred years we have had U.S. drug war propaganda ministers. First with the director of the Bureau of Narcotics, Harry J. Anslinger, on through the more recent series of Drug Czars that blatantly lie for a living. It’s actually in their contracts to forbid, disuade or otherwise deny any talk of legalization and, as stated most recently by the new Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, they will continue, “hell or high water”, and per presidential guidelines to believe that “legalization is not in our vocabulary.”

The U.S. leads the world in its incarceration rate. Our children have the best access of all through contacts made easily in high school. Al Qaeda continues to thrive by profiting on our fear of flowers. The deadly cartels in Mexico continue making their tens of billions dollars each year despite and because of the presence of tens of thousands of armed troops. The U.S. gangs are prospering as well and continue to afford their high-powered weaponry to shoot up our city streets by selling contaminated drugs to our children.

Where are the politicians and officials that want to kill al Qaeda’s fattest cash cow, who want to eviscerate the Latin cartels or who want to eliminate the reason for which most violent U.S. gangs exist?! Who among them wants to take away our childrens’ easy access to drugs or to eliminate most overdose deaths?! They’re too busy counting the cash they receive as part of the world’s largest scam. Too busy lying for a living to notice or care about the misery caused their complicity.

As did Torquemada, the modern inquisitors need snitches and informants, liars and certainly a holy war. But mostly they need YOU to remain silent - to fear their venomous wrath. How long will YOU allow the big lie of the drug war to stand in the very bright light of NOW?!

Face the inquisition.

Dean Becker, DrugTruth.net.

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DEAN BECKER: OK, and I am Dean Becker. You’re listening to Cultural Baggage on the DrugTruth Network. We’ve been speaking with Mr. Adam Assenberg but we now have, uh, I won’t say an associate, but another dispensary owner, based in Oaksterdam, California, a subsection of town that he actually created. He’s in Houston to attend the wedding of a relative but also to encourage us to help in the effort in California for the new election season to tax and regulate marijuana. With that I want to welcome our guest Mr. Richard Lee. Hello, sir.

RICHARD LEE: Hey, Dean, how are you doing?

DEAN BECKER: It’s so good to have you here in town, to see you and to, you know, just break bread with you and all the good folks you had at your parents. It’s a rarity in Houston for us to have such a large gathering, it’s not been a very revolutionary town, if you will, in regards to changing the drug laws or to changing the way we deal with a subject like marijuana.

But, you have, over the years, upped it a notch continuously. You started out here with the hemp store but you then you moved to California back around, what, ’97 or ’98?

RICHARD LEE: Exactly, ’97.

DEAN BECKER: ’97. And you have become part of the change. You’ve opened up a coffee shop, you’ve got the Oaksterdam University. What was it? 12,000 people have now been educated there?

RICHARD LEE: Uh huh, in our first three years. We’re coming up on almost 4 years now.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and you’re teaching people how to grow, make hash, bud tend all the various parameters of what you need to know to run a safe and productive business, right?

RICHARD LEE: Yeah, we’ve been really lucky and had a lot of good people working to make it happen. A lot of people making sacrifices and taking a lot of risks to oppose the government and, basically, committing civil disobedience.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, that was a part of the civil rights era, as well, it was civil disobedience – wasn’t violence or anything. It was just showing that the law was broken, right?

RICHARD LEE: Exactly but the laws don’t change on their own. It takes people standing up and breaking them to make them change. If everybody waited for them to change before they did it then it would never happen.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, there will not be a magical day, it’s going to be a long-term effort, right?

RICHARD LEE: Exactly and we’ve been working…we’re actually celebrating the 15-year anniversary of the Oaksterdam starting. On July 4th, 1996 is when Jeff Jones opened the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative. And you might find that date interesting because if you know your history you know that Proposition 215 that allowed medical marijuana didn’t pass until November of 1996 – 4 months later. So it shows that activists weren’t waiting for the laws, they were moving ahead because they knew it was the right thing to do.

DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, living in Houston, I can’t remember the year, it was about 2001 and there was a major layout on the front page of Houston Chronicle. Big picture of Jeff Jones and talking about the Supreme Court ruling that, in essence, tried to deny the OCBC. And, the fact of the matter is that Jeff came across as a courageous individual back then. I noticed that he wasn’t bowed or cow-towed(?) to any of it. He was standing for the truth he knew to be relevant, right?

RICHARD LEE: Exactly. Yes, he’s a real hero of mine for all he did back then to get things going in Oakland.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and Dennis Peron worked with him about that same time to much the same thing, right?

RICHARD LEE: Well Dennis came first. Dennis is the original guy who invented the whole dispensary model and he was the guy who saw the AIDS epidemic hit his friends. And he lost a lot of people to AIDS and so the beginning of the medical marijuana era started in San Francisco with the AIDS patients and Dennis Peron opening the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Cooperative. That got shut down in ’96 right before the 215 election vote and Jeff Jones had just opened and he kind of took the baton, if you will, from Dennis.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and that’s what it takes really, isn’t it Richard, to stand with one another, to stand in support or, as you say, to pick up the baton when someone else can’t carry it forward. Even our prior interviewee, Mr. Adam Assberger, he’s up in Washington state, little guy, just a handful of patients, and they’re trying to quash him and he’s standing tall and refusing to just give in because that’s what they want, isn’t it?

RICHARD LEE: Well that’s what’s winning the war for us. There’s a thousand little fire fights and sqirmishes and battles every day all over the country with people fighting and standing up. Sometimes winning, sometimes loosing but making the sacrifice and then, more often than not now, we’re winning. But not always but it’s the only way change happens.

DEAN BECKER: Again, we’re speaking with Mr. Richard Lee of Oaksterdam University. As I mentioned earlier, I was over at his parent’s house. I was actually helping folks sign up at cannabispolicyreform.org to show their support for the work you guys are doing out there, even got a couple of folks to contribute while I was at it. Tell us what the effort’s going to be for this coming election cycle.

RICHARD LEE: We are working on an initiative for the California 2012 ballot. Colorado I saw just filed for an initiative for the Colorado 2012 ballot as well. I know they’re collecting signatures in Washington State, as well, and there’s a couple east coast states that have been talking about legalization. I’m not sure whether they’ll have initiatives next year. They are Maine and Rhode Island. So I think at least 2 or 3 states will have legalization initiatives on the 2012 ballot.

DEAN BECKER: Well this is a good sign but we’ve got to get something going at the federal level too, don’t we? I keep hoping that the number of states, up to 16 now, with medical marijuana laws would encourage or motivate the U.S. Congress but we’re going to have to work a little harder, dig a little deeper, aren’t we?

RICHARD LEE: Yeah, it’s a long war and we have win on the state level first and then we’ll move onto the federal level when we get more states in support.

DEAN BECKER: OK. Well, we have just about 30 seconds left here folks. We are speaking with Mr. Richard Lee of Oaksterdam University. Richard, I want to quickly share, folks you can join in this effort, you can learn more about it, you can even contribute to the effort at cannabispolicyreform.org. Richard, as I said, it’s good to have you in town, it’s good to know that you’re going to be back in the Oakland area helping to change people’s attitudes and hopefully motivate some of these politicians to get on the side of truth and reality. We got about 10 seconds, please, your closing thoughts.

RICHARD LEE: I was just going to say, keep up the good work here and I know you’re deep behind enemy lines but you’re doing a great job, Dean. And don’t lose the faith and keep working hard. We’re slowly but surely winning the war.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed we are. Mr. Richard Lee, thank you so much.

RICHARD LEE: Thanks, Dean.

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DEAN BECKER: OK folks, that’s about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this show. As always, I want to once again remind you that because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.

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DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.